You are certainly not alone when it comes to lower back pain. In fact, lower-back pain is considered to be one of the most common medical problems in the United States: 8 out of 10 people at some point during their life will experience lower back pain .
During my studies under a naturopathic doctor, I quickly became aware of the truth behind this statistic. Of the many patients I saw who complained of lower-back pain, almost all cases had the same root cause and all patients were cured within a day or few weeks (depending of the severity).
I thought I would share my knowledge and experience with all of you in hopes that this information will help readers who have this very problem find relief.
The Culprit of Your Lower-Back Pain
The most common cause of lower-back pain in my experience is caused by a tight hip flexor muscle called the iliopsoas. Sometimes separately called the iliacus and psoas muscles, these deep muscles can wreak havoc on your back.
The iliopsoas stretches from your inner thigh (femur) all the way up to your lower back (lumbar vertebrae). There is one on each side of our body. Simply put, they connect your hips to your lower back. This connection allows us to effectively move our hips and keep our spine in alignment.
When we are sitting, the iliopsoas is in a shortened state. Unfortunately, the design of our society encourages sitting. We sit at work, at the computer, while watching T.V, and when we eat. A large majority of our day consists of sitting ‘activities.’ This is where the problems begin.
The more time we spend in a sitting position, the more the iliopsoas becomes accustomed to this shortened state.
As a result, the iliopsoas does not stretch as long as it should when we stand up. This causes tension between the back and hips, causing a considerable amount of pain in the lower back.
Most of the time, either the left or right iliopsoas is tighter than the other side. This causes even more discomfort because it throws the spine and hips out of alignment. The whole structure of the spine can be thrown off by the iliopsoas.
Some classic signs of a tight iliopsoas:
- You are uncomfortable at night unless you curl one or both of your legs up towards your chest…this shortens the iliopsoas which creates comfort & relief.
- Have difficulty standing after sitting for a considerable amount of time. People with a tight iliopsoas often stand up with a hunched-over back due to the tension.
- Biking or running can cause the hip and groin area to become very tight or sore.
- Experience discomfort during stretches that target the iliopsoas muscles, which are explained in the video below.
What Can I Do To Relax & Release My Iliopsoas?
If you think your iliopsoas is to blame for your lower back pain, there are different stretches and releases you can perform to both prevent and alleviate your pain.
This video will show you how to release and stretch your iliopsoas.
In addition to the suggestions in the video, you can also,
- Make sure you stand up after every 30 minutes of sitting. This will allow you to re-calibrate and stretch out your iliopsoas.
- Try yoga. Yoga has worked wonders for me in both helping my iliopsoas tightness and chronic tension headaches. It is great for keeping your muscles loose and healthy. Consider hip-flexor stretching positions such as the warrior 1 yoga pose.
- Go to a naturopath who practices physical medicine. The naturopath I worked under helped countless patients get rid of their back pain by physically releasing the iliopsoas and other related muscles by pressing on trigger points. If you are careful you can try this yourself with some research.
- Make sure you are getting enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies are often associated with tight muscles and muscle spasms. Getting enough in your diet can help reduce muscle tension not only with your iliopsoas, but all of your muscles.
Feel free to comment below with any questions, comments, or suggestions. Also, know that I offer online health coaching services.
Be Well & Be Happy